Point-in-Time Count

Volunteers Melinda Ramirez (left) and Dotty Nygard (right) talk two homeless men in a group at the picnic shelter in Lincoln Park during the 2019 Unsheltered Homeless Point-in-Time Count on Monday morning.

New data shows a striking increase in the number of homeless men and women on Tracy streets.

The San Joaquin Continuum of Care — an agency committed to marshaling resources to end homelessness — released data Monday from a census of the homeless in late January. The census, called a point in time count, found 155 people living without shelter in Tracy — up from 90 in 2017.

By federal law, the San Joaquin Continuum of Care, and agencies like it in other counties, must survey the homeless population every two years. Their findings are used to calculate funding for various programs to help the homeless.

This year the group found 2,629 homeless people throughout the county, 1,558 of whom were unsheltered. In 2017 the number of unsheltered people counted was 567.

The San Joaquin Continuum of Care report states that while there was a dramatic increase in the homeless count, “the 170% increase in total counted over that period can only reasonably be explained by one thing: an over 1,000% increase in the number of community members willing and able to volunteer to count the homeless.”

The group says 401 people from 91 different organizations volunteered to survey the people on the street, up from 35 volunteers two years ago. A total of 921 unsheltered homeless people were registered in Stockton, 218 in Manteca and 155 in Tracy. Lodi had 139 homeless people on the street, Lathrop had 14, Ripon had seven and Escalon had four. An additional 100 people were found in unincorporated areas of the county.

According to the data, 65% of the unsheltered people were men; 59% reported a problem with substance abuse; 34% reported mental health issues.

There were 153 homeless people who said they were military veterans — 71 on the streets and 82 in emergency or transitional housing. Two of those veterans had kids with them. Throughout the county, six kids under the age of 18 were identified as living on the street and 330 in various types of shelters.

The report concluded that though more people were counted, not much has changed in the past two years.

“Much of the unsheltered homeless living in San Joaquin County remain mired in long-term homelessness and face significant individual barriers to obtaining stable housing,” the report reads, “including lack of income, lack of recent housing and employment history, criminal history, profound physical and mental health challenges, and struggles with substance abuse.”

The full 28-page report is available to read attached to this story at left.

Contact the Tracy Press at tpnews@tracypress.com or 835-3030.

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